06 Jun Are you really planning your Email Marketing?
You know you want to do some email marketing. Or, perhaps more accurately, you feel like you’re supposed to do some email marketing. Where to start? An “email marketing plan” sounds far more complicated, intimidating, and time-consuming than it really is. With this guide, you can put a plan together so that all of your future campaigns work beautifully and quickly.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the most important steps, highlight real-life case studies along the way, and give you everything you need to know to get started.
Step 1: Define & Segment Your Recipients
Before you start designing, writing, and sending campaigns, you should first define your recipients. Once you have a good understanding of the people reading your emails, it’ll be much easier to decide what to send them.
If you have a list of emails for individuals already, who are they? One way to determine this is by how they signed up. If they subscribed during checkout, they’re customers. But if they found you through your website or in public (fairs, trade shows, etc.), they’re more of a general audience. We segment our list of emails into Clients, Contacts and Potential Clients. The tone and the content will be different for each, so don’t just send the same content to your entire list of email addresses.
If you don’t have an email database (list) yet, who is your target audience? How will you find these people, and what do you think they will want in your emails?
For example, you may be a service provider, and in this instance, your recipients are going to be interested in useful written content related to your expertise. If you’re a retailer, they will want to know about your new products or how they can better use the products they’ve already purchased from you.
Step 2: Determine Your Content
Now that you know who you’re talking to, it’s time to think about what you’re going to say to them. This is your content. Think about what would be useful to each list of contacts, then focus on delivering that to them. It can be helpful to remember the different types of content you can use. We split our content up to match the different stages of the buying process:
1. Awareness – Content to make people aware of your brand and encourage people to share it with their friends and colleagues. This type of content is great for social media but not so much for emails because your audience will already be aware of your brand if they have given you their email address. Examples of Awareness content would be pictures of staff night out, funny images, comments on light-hearted subject matter such as the World Cup.
2. Consideration – Content to educate the individual about your product or service. Useful guides such as advice, tips, product info, reviews, etc. this consideration content will be the main body of the email for service providers.
3. Decision – Once the individual is ready to buy, you need to provide the content to convince them that they should buy from you. Examples of decision making content maybe a free trial, special offer, free delivery, discount code, testimonials, Trustpilot rating, etc. The email layout should allow for both consideration and decision making content because you don’t know what stage of the buying process the recipient is at.
If you are an e-commerce business your emails will be filled with more decision making content than consideration because your recipients will have probably bought from you before and don’t need further info. However, it’s still good to have some useful tips and advice within the sales email so that if they aren’t interested in buying right now, they still find your emails useful and are less likely to unsubscribe.
Think about what content you’re already creating that you might want to share to make sure your subscribers don’t miss it. A popular tweet, a Facebook post, an article about your company—these are things your readers will likely find interesting. Think also about what content you’d like to create exclusively for this audience. Reward them for caring about what you do.
Tips for creating and gathering content
Your content is the most important part of your newsletters. Here are some tips for making and gathering compelling content that will speak to your readers:
1. Treat your readers like VIPs.
People who subscribe to your email list are so into you that they’ve given you permission to their inbox’s. Honor this permission and dedicated fandom by giving them access to special benefits and info as subscribers.
2. Keep it useful & beneficial
Think about which emails you open and which you delete right away. You don’t open an email that doesn’t benefit you in some way. Make sure the content of your email gives the recipient good reason to invest 5 minutes of their time reading it.
3. Show some personality.
No one wants to read a dry, boring email that drones on and on about themselves and what they have been doing. Inject some personality, people like to do business with people they like. This is a good opportunity to show your personality and build your relationship with the recipient.
4. Keep it short.
Most people are bombarded with emails every day. Keep your emails short and to the point. We like to provide the first paragraph of a useful article to entice them into clicking for further info. This will take them to our site where we want them to be. These drawers the reader down the funnel, if they were faced with the actual 5 paragraph long article they would have probably binned it.
5. Get inspired and save
Get inspired by looking around social media, look at the competition and look at your buyer personas. See what they are posting, talking about and what questions are being asked. Save all the content and ideas in folders on your computer titled awareness, consideration, and decision or you can use useful tools such as Evernote.com to organize all the inspiring content you find.
Step 3 Determine Your Sending Frequency and Goals
Not all sending frequencies are created equally. Ultimately, you have to decide what works best for you and your customers. We recommend you email at least monthly, but don’t feel the need to commit to that immediately. Feel free to skip a month if you don’t have anything truly useful to say. Remember also to look ahead and plan accordingly for holidays, events, and the like.
Step 4 Make a Schedule
We always recommend that you have your email campaigns scheduled for certain days of the month, every month unless there are special occasions. This way people can work towards that deadline and if you leave it until you have time….you never will.
Your email-marketing schedule will vary, of course, depending on the industry, type of content, sending frequency, and so on. But here’s 2 real examples of how we plan campaigns:
1. Strategy Plus Monthly Emails:
We send out an email once a month because we don’t want to be seen as hassling the people on the other end of the email addresses. We always have it penciled into the calendar for the end of the first week.
Day 1: Write a blog and have it checked over by close friends and colleagues
Day 2: Log in to MailChimp.com and create the campaign. Proofread for errors and grammar. Send a test campaign to yourself and at least one other. Schedule the email to go out at 2pm as we have tested this to be the best time of day for open rates.
2. E-commerce client
We were decided upon sending 6 emails per month and we split the 6 emails into different types, varying in content and layout:
1. Product Offers
2. Useful info with related products
3. Description of their online services
Each email is sent out twice every month.
We carried out A/B testing to find out the best two days and times in a week for each email. This process took just two weeks or 4 emails in total. Therefore the process for this email campaign is slightly more complicated than our own.
Day 1. Look ahead 4 weeks at a time to ensure we know the subject matters and types of products that will be focused on that month.
Day 2. Put the email together and send to the client for approval
Day 3. Make necessary changes and send out using the scheduled time agreed.
Day 2 and 3 is then repeated for the remaining 5 emails for that month.
This may seem complicated but once set up each email will take no longer than 1-2 hours work in total and by following the process in the second example we increase turnover from the emails by 50% in just 8 weeks.
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